December 23, 2009

Crusaders Set To Face George Washington On Monday

Complete Release in PDF Format

GAME DAY QUICK FACTS:
The Teams:
Holy Cross (2-9, 0-0 PL) vs. George Washington (8-2, 0-0 A-10)
Date: December 28, 2009
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Hart Center (3,600), Worcester, Mass.
WCTR Television: Kevin Shea, play-by-play; Kevin Wells, color
Live Video Streaming: Crusader Vision
Unofficial Live Statistics: Click Here
Holy Cross Radio: WWFX 100.1 FM, Worcester; Bob Fouracre, play-by-play; Click Here for Internet Broadcast
George Washington Radio: WFED 1050 AM, Washington
Series Record: George Washington leads, 2-0
Last Meeting: George Washington 86, Holy Cross 56 (November 22, 1996; Washington, D.C.)

PROBABLE HOLY CROSS STARTERS:
Pos., No., Name (Ht., Wt., Cl.)
F, 5, Mike Cavataio (6-4, 190, So.)
F, 34, Andrew Keister (6-9, 235, Jr.)
C, 53, Eric Meister (6-8, 225, Sr.)
G, 10, R.J. Evans (6-3, 200, So.)
G, 22, Andrew Beinert (6-4, 185, Jr.)

THE SERIES WITH GEORGE WASHINGTON: This will be just the third meeting between the Crusaders and the Pioneers on the hardwood, with George Washington leading the all-time series 2-0. Both previous games between the schools were played in Washington, D.C, with the Colonials winning 76-68 on Jan. 20, 1983, and 86-56 on Nov. 22, 1996. Against the 14 schools which are currently members of the Atlantic 10 Conference, the Crusaders own an all-time record of 127-112 (0-1 vs. Charlotte, 1-3 against Dayton, 3-5 vs. Duquesne, 39-41 against Fordham, 0-2 vs. George Washington, 6-16 against La Salle, 36-19 vs. Massachusetts, 26-13 against Rhode Island, 3-2 vs. St. Bonaventure, 2-4 against St. Joseph’s, 2-3 vs. St. Louis, 6-3 against Temple and 3-0 vs. Xavier).

SERIES QUICK FACTS:
Overall: George Washington leads, 2-0
In Worcester: First Meeting
At the Hart Center: First Meeting
Sean Kearney vs. George Washington: 0-0
Karl Hobbs vs. Holy Cross: 0-0
Current Win Streak: George Washington, two games

CRUSADERS RETURN FROM CHRISTMAS BREAK TO FACE GEORGE WASHINGTON: Following a five-day break for Christmas, Holy Cross returns to action when it plays host to George Washington on Monday, Dec. 28, at 7:00 p.m. The Crusaders will then play their next four games away from the Hart Center, beginning with a contest at Stony Brook on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 2:00 p.m. Holy Cross next faces Central Connecticut at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Jan. 2, before travelling to North Carolina State (Jan. 6) and Lafayette (Jan. 9).

EVANS HAVING ANOTHER STELLAR YEAR: Sophomore guard R.J. Evans (Salem, Conn.) is enjoying another outstanding season for the Crusaders, after earning Patriot League Rookie of the Year honors in 2008-2009. In 11 games played this year, he has averaged 14.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per contest. During the Sacred Heart game, Evans led the team with 20 points and five rebounds. Previously at Fairfield, he posted a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Evans also played well against Massachusetts, totaling 18 points, four rebounds and three assists. Some of his other top performances this season have come against Brown (17 points, 10 rebounds), St. Joseph’s (16 points, nine rebounds, three assists), Nevada-Las Vegas (13 points, three rebounds, three assists), Western Michigan (12 points, seven rebounds, four assists), Harvard (12 points) and Loyola (11 points, five rebounds, three assists). A year ago, Evans averaged a team-best 13.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest, while scoring in double-figures in 21 of his last 26 games. He also earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors after averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in three postseason games, including a career-high 31 points, six rebounds and three steals in the quarterfinal victory over Bucknell. A few of Evans’ other top games in 2008-2009 came against San Francisco (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Siena (21 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals). Evans’ 429 points scored last season were the second-most ever by a Holy Cross freshman, behind only Ronnie Perry with 574 points in 1976-1977. Over the course of his collegiate career, he has now totaled 584 points, 226 rebounds, 79 assists and 59 steals.

KEARNEY LEADS CRUSADERS FROM THE BENCH: Sean Kearney is in his first season as the head men’s basketball coach at Holy Cross in 2009-2010, with an overall record of 2-9. He earned his first career victory with the 68-56 win over Marist on Nov. 30. This is the first collegiate head coaching position in the career of Kearney, who is the 15th head coach in the history of the program. Kearney came to Holy Cross from the University of Notre Dame, where he served as associate head coach for nine years under Mike Brey, helping the Irish to an overall record of 188-101 and five trips to the NCAA Tournament. Prior to his time at Notre Dame, Kearney was an assistant coach at Delaware, Northwestern, Philadelphia University and Providence. A 1981 graduate of the University of Scranton, Kearney’s teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament 10 times and the National Invitation Tournament five times during his 23 seasons as a collegiate assistant coach.

BROWN PLAYS KEY MINUTES OFF THE BENCH: Sophomore guard Devin Brown (Baltimore, Md.) has once again been the first player off the bench in the Holy Cross backcourt this season. In 11 games played so far this year, Brown has averaged 9.7 points per contest, while scoring in double-figures five times and hitting 47.7 percent (21 of 44) of his three-point field goal attempts. During the Sacred Heart game, he scored 19 points and made five of seven three-point attempts. Previously at Rhode Island, Brown totaled 12 points and four assists. Brown also played well against Loyola, recording 16 points, two rebounds and two steals. Some of his other top performances this season have come against St. Joseph’s (17 points, three rebounds) and Harvard (12 points, five rebounds, two assists). Last year, Brown averaged 5.8 points and 1.6 rebounds per game, while leading the Patriot League by making 88.0 percent of his free throws (73 of 83). A few of his top games in 2008-2009 came against Fairfield (22 points, five of nine shooting from the field, 10 of 10 shooting at the foul line) and San Francisco (22 points, five assists, 11 of 12 shooting on free throws). Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Brown has now totaled 292 points, 70 rebounds and 50 assists, while hitting 35.5 percent (33 of 93) of his three-point field goal attempts.

CAVATAIO SHINES AT HOLY CROSS: Sophomore guard Mike Cavataio (Forest Hills, N.Y.) has been one of the top players on the team during his first season in a Holy Cross uniform. During the overtime win at Brown, he led the team with a career-high 21 points and six rebounds. In the previous contest against Marist, Cavataio scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds. He also played well at Western Michigan, posting his first career double-double with 15 points and 12 boards. Some of Cavataio’s other top performances so far this season have come against Loyola (14 points, four assists, three rebounds), Harvard (11 points, five assists, three rebounds, two assists), Nevada-Las Vegas (nine points, career-high 13 rebounds), St. Joseph’s (nine points, eight rebounds, four assists) and Rhode Island (eight points, two rebounds). Through 11 games played, he has averaged 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per contest. Cavataio sat out the 2008-2009 season, after transferring to Holy Cross from St. John’s University, where totaled 23 points and 20 rebounds during his only year with the Red Storm. As a senior at St. Francis Prep, Cavataio averaged 25.0 points per game.

SACRED HEART RECAP: Sacred Heart’s Ryan Litke scored 19 points on seven of 10 shooting from the field, to lead the Pioneers to an 82-79 victory over Holy Cross at the Hart Center on Dec. 22, 2009. R.J. Evans led the Crusaders with 20 points and five rebounds. The first half of the game went back-and-forth, with six ties and 10 lead changes. Sacred Heart took its largest lead of the night (24-17) with 11 minutes left in the first half, before the Crusaders used a 27-13 run to take a seven-point lead of their own (44-37). Holy Cross was up 44-39 at the break. The Crusaders held onto the lead early in the second half, eventually going up by as many as 11 points (58-47) with 12 minutes left to play. But Sacred Heart then scored nine straight points to get back into the game, and the score stayed close the rest of the way. Holy Cross was up 67-66 at the 4:46-mark, before a short jumper by Liam Potter gave the Pioneers the lead for good. The Crusaders were able to close to within one point twice in the final three minutes, but Sacred Heart made seven of eight free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win. Devin Brown totaled 19 points and two steals for Holy Cross, while Eric Meister added 14 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. The Crusaders shot 50.0 percent (six of 12) from three-point range and 78.9 percent (15 of 19) at the free throw line while holding a 47-34 advantage on the glass, but also committed 23 turnovers.

MEISTER CLEANS THE GLASS FOR THE CRUSADERS: Senior center Eric Meister (Boalsburg, Pa.) is once again a key player for Holy Cross in the low post this season. Through 11 games played, he has averaged 6.7 points and 6.5 rebounds, while making 53.1 percent (34 of 64) of his shots from the floor. In the Sacred Heart game, Meister scored a season-high 14 points and pulled down a career-best 16 rebounds. Previously against UMass, he posted nine points and a team-high seven rebounds. Meister also played well at Western Michigan, recording eight points and seven rebounds. Some of his other top games this season have come against Loyola (nine points, eight rebounds), St. Joseph’s (six points, nine rebounds) and Harvard (six points, four assists, three rebounds). Last year, Meister earned All-Patriot League Tournament honors, after averaging 12.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in three postseason games, while hitting 15 of 26 field goal attempts (57.7 percent). During the Patriot League semifinal victory over Colgate, he scored a career-high 19 points on nine of 10 shooting from the field, in addition to grabbing nine rebounds. A few of Meister’s other top performances during the 2008-2009 season came at Lehigh (15 points, four rebounds) and at American in the Patriot League championship game (12 points, 12 rebounds). Overall last year, he averaged 6.7 points, 4.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots per game. Over the course of his Holy Cross career, Meister has now totaled 467 points, 419 rebounds and 63 blocked shots, while making 51.2 percent (199 of 389) of his field goal attempts.

BEINERT LEADS HOLY CROSS FROM THE POINT: Junior guard Andrew Beinert (Floral Park, N.Y.) has been one of the Crusaders’ top players in the backcourt over the last three seasons. In 11 games played so far this year, Beinert has averaged 8.4 points, 3.0 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest, while hitting 15 of 48 (31.3 percent) three-point field goal attempts. During the UMass game, he posted 12 points and three steals. Previously in the overtime victory at Brown, Beinert recorded 15 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. He also played well at Rhode Island, totaling 14 points and three assists while hitting six of 10 shots from the floor. Some of Beinert’s other top games his year have come against Loyola (17 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals), Marist (eight points, five assists, four rebounds) and Harvard (seven points, four rebounds, four assists). Last year, he averaged 8.5 points, 2.1 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game, while leading the Patriot League by hitting 45.4 percent (49 of 108) of his three-point field goal attempts. Three of Beinert’s top games in 2008-2009 came at American, against Bucknell and at Boston University, as he totaled 18 points and three assists in each of those contests. Overall last season, Beinert scored in double-figures 12 times, while leading the team in scoring four times. During his career as a Crusader, Beinert has now totaled 477 points, 142 assists, 140 rebounds and 58 steals, while hitting 38.6 percent (83 of 215) of his three-point field goal attempts.

THE LAST MEETING WITH GEORGE WASHINGTON: George Washington’s Alexander Koul totaled 25 points and 12 rebounds to lead the 24th ranked Colonials to an 85-56 victory over Holy Cross in the opening round of the Colonial Classic on Nov. 22, 1996. Shawnta Rogers added 18 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals for George Washington, while Chris Rojik led the Crusaders with 13 points. After a three-point field goal by Damion Ezell on the first possession of the game gave Holy Cross an early 3-0 lead, the Colonials ran off nine straight points to take the lead for good. The Crusaders were able to remain within striking distance for the next several minutes, and trailed 24-17 with 9:44 left in the first half. George Washington then went on a 6-0 run to build its lead to double figures, and would eventually lead by 18 points (43-25) late in the half. The Colonials then took a 45-31 advantage into the locker room. Holy Cross was able to make it a nine-point game (47-38) early in the second half, before George Washington used a 13-2 spurt to put the game away. The Colonials eventually led by 31 points late in the game, before finally posting a 30-point victory.

KEISTER BUILDS ON STRONG SOPHOMORE SEASON: Junior forward Andrew Keister (Galloway, N.J.) has been one of the top low post players in the Patriot League over the last two years. In 11 games played this season, Keister has averaged 10.6 points and 7.8 rebounds per contest, while hitting 49.0 percent (48 of 98) of his shots from the floor. During the UMass game, he recorded 12 points and four rebounds. Previously in the overtime victory at Brown, Keister posted a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds. He also played well against Marist, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 boards. Some of Keister’s other top games this season have come against Harvard (22 points, eight rebounds), Rhode Island (21 points, 11 rebounds, nine of 14 shooting from the field), St. Joseph’s (10 points, 11 rebounds) and Western Michigan (10 points, four rebounds, two steals). Last year, he earned first team All-Patriot League honors after averaging 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds in conference regular season play, and hitting 67.3 percent (72 of 107) of his field goal attempts. He led the team with seven double-doubles in 2008-2009, including a 27-point, 14-rebound performance at Navy. A few of Keister’s other top games last season came against Army at home (21 points, 12 rebounds), at Bucknell (18 points, 10 rebounds) and at Central Florida (18 points, five rebounds). Overall last year, Keister averaged 8.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while leading the Patriot League by hitting 58.8 percent (104 of 177) of his shots from the field. Over the course of his collegiate career, Keister has now totaled 410 points and 313 rebounds, while making 51.7 percent (167 of 323) of his field goal attempts.

HOLY CROSS NAMES CAPTAINS: Junior guard Andrew Beinert, junior forward Andrew Keister and senior center Eric Meister have been selected as the Crusaders’ captains for the 2009-2010 season. These three players have taken over the leadership role from Colin Cunningham, Pat Doherty and Alex Vander Baan, who served as the Crusaders’ senior captains during the 2008-2009 season.

HOLY CROSS HAS GOOD SUCCESS ON THE BOARDS: The Crusaders are once again a strong rebounding team this year, after averaging 38.0 boards per contest and outrebounding their opponents by an average margin of 3.2 rebounds per game so far in 2009-2010. Holy Cross’ top game on the boards this year came at St. Joseph’s, when it pulled down a season-best 50 rebounds. Junior forward Andrew Keister leads the team with an average of 7.8 rebounds per game, while senior center Eric Meister stands second with 6.5 boards per contest. Sophomore guard Mike Cavataio has pulled down 5.8 rebounds per contest and sophomore guard R.J. Evans has chipped in with 5.4 boards per game. Last season, the Crusaders averaged 36.0 rebounds per game and outrebounded the opposition by 6.7 rebounds per contest. Entering 2009-2010, the Crusaders had posted a positive rebounding margin in 10 straight seasons, including eight years in which they outrebounded the opposition by at least four boards per game.

CRUSADERS REMAIN TOUGH AT THE HART CENTER: Holy Cross currently owns an all-time record of 312-116 at the Hart Center, including a 1-3 mark so far in 2009-2010. The Crusaders posted their 300th win in the building against Sacred Heart on Nov. 14, 2008. Holy Cross had a 23-game winning streak at the Hart Center from Feb. 15, 2006-Jan. 2, 2008, which was the longest streak in the history of the building and the sixth-longest home court winning streak in the nation at the time. In 2006-2007 the Crusaders posted a perfect 14-0 mark at the Hart Center, setting a school record for the most home victories since they moved into the building. During the Hart Center’s history, Holy Cross has posted a winning record at home in 30 out of 34 seasons, while recording double-figure home victories 16 times. The Crusaders stand 99-24 at home since the beginning of the 2000-2001 season, including a 62-11 record against Patriot League foes and an 12-4 mark in 2008-2009.

CRUSADERS OWN FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE REGULAR SEASON TITLES: Throughout its first 19 years of play in the conference, Holy Cross has won five Patriot League regular season titles. The last championship for the Crusaders came in 2006-2007, when they tied for first place in the conference with Bucknell, as both teams posted 13-1 records in league play. Prior to that, Holy Cross won outright Patriot League regular season titles in 2001, 2003 and 2005, while sharing the regular season championship in 1994. The Crusaders are the only team in league history to win more than two outright titles, while their five total championships are tied for the most in conference history with Navy (one outright, four shared) and Bucknell (two outright, three shared).

CRUSADERS HAVE FIVE PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT CROWNS: Three years ago, the Crusaders captured their fifth Patriot League Tournament championship with their 74-66 victory over Bucknell on March 9, 2007. Holy Cross’ previous tournament titles came in 2003 (72-64 over American), 2002 (58-54 at American), 2001 (68-64 over Navy in overtime) and 1993 (98-73 at Bucknell). The Crusaders’ five conference tournament championships are the most in Patriot League history, with Navy having the second most (three in 1994, 1997 and 1998). Holy Cross has also appeared in the championship game seven times in the last nine years. Overall, the Crusaders have made a conference-record 10 appearances in the Patriot League championship game.

HOLY CROSS A FIXTURE IN CONFERENCE TITLE GAME: When the Crusaders faced American in the Patriot League championship game last season, it marked the seventh time Holy Cross appeared in the conference title game in the last nine years. The Crusaders have gone 4-3 in their seven championship game appearances during that time, winning the title in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2007. Only five other teams in the nation have played in their conference championship game as many times as Holy Cross has over the last nine years.

TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE: This year marks the 91st season of Holy Cross men’s basketball. The Crusaders own an overall record of 1284-836 (.606), while making 24 postseason tournament appearances — 12 trips to the NCAA Tournament and 12 to the National Invitation Tournament. In the history of collegiate basketball, Holy Cross is one of only 16 schools to have won the NCAA Tournament (1946-1947) as well as the National Invitational Tournament (1953-1954). Throughout its history, Holy Cross has had six first team All-America selections, sent 10 players to the National Basketball Association, had four players inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, had 23 players drafted by professional teams, had three players go on to coach professionally, and had 15 players who have coached in college.

CRUSADERS PICKED FIRST IN PRESEASON POLL: In the 2009-2010 Patriot League preseason poll, Holy Cross was picked to finish in first place in voting by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Crusaders received 95 total points in the poll, including 13 first place votes. Lehigh placed second in the poll with 78 points and three first place votes, while Bucknell was third with 63 points. Rounding out the poll were Army (fourth, 59 points), Colgate (fifth, 51 points), American (sixth, 45 points), Navy (seventh, 43 points) and Lafayette (eighth, 14 points).

EVANS & KEISTER NAMED PRESEASON ALL-PATRIOT LEAGUE: Sophomore guard R.J. Evans and junior forward Andrew Keister were selected to the preseason All-Patriot League team, in voting by the conference’s head coaches and sports information directors. Evans and Keister were joined on the preseason all-conference team by Lehigh senior forward Zahir Carrington, Lehigh senior guard Marquis Hall and Army senior guard Cleveland Richard. In addition, Hall was selected as the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year. Keister and Hall both earned first team All-Patriot League honors at the conclusion of the 2008-2009 season, while Carrington and Richards were second team all-conference selections, and Evans was the Patriot League Rookie of the Year.

HOLY CROSS ON THE RADIO: Most of the Crusaders' basketball contests during the 2009-2010 season will be carried by The Pike, WWFX 100.1 FM in Worcester.  Holy Cross Hall of Famer Bob Fouracre will be in his 23rd season calling the play-by-play for Crusader basketball on the radio. In addition, Jeremy Lechan and Dick Lutsk are in their sixth year on the Holy Cross broadcast crew, and will handle either play-by-play or color commentary for selected games. The Pike is currently scheduled to air 24 of the Crusaders' 29 regular season games. All games aired on The Pike can also be heard live over the internet through the Worcester Pike website. The five games not carried on The Pike will be broadcast exclusively over the internet through SportsJuice. In addition, the Holy Cross student station, WCHC 88.1 FM, will carry a number of games this year.

CRUSADERS ON TELEVISION: Holy Cross will have at least six games shown on live television during the 2009-2010 season. The Crusaders had 10 television appearances last year, while appearing on television eight times in 2007-2008, 13 times in 2006-2007, 10 times in 2005-2006 and 10 times in 2004-2005. Here is a look at Holy Cross' television schedule for the 2009-2010 season:

Dec. 28 vs. George Washington: WCTR-TV3
Jan. 9 at Lafayette: Lafayette Sports Network / MASN
Jan. 13 vs. Army: WCTR-TV3
Jan. 31 vs. Lehigh: CBS College Sports
Feb. 14 at Bucknell: CBS College Sports
Feb. 27 at Lehigh: Service Electric Cable

CRUSADER VISION: Live video streaming of two non-conference home games during the 2009-2010 season will be available over the internet through Crusader Vision. The contests against Loyola (Ill.) and George Washington will be shown. The package, done in association with Stretch Internet, is available through individual game pay-per-view, or through an annual subscription. For details on how to view games through Crusader Vision, click here.

PATRIOT LEAGUE ALL-ACCESS: Live video streaming of all Patriot League regular season games during the 2009-2010 season will be available over the internet through Patriot League All-Access. The package, done in association with CBS College Sports Online, is available for a monthly subscription. For details on how to sign up for Patriot League All-Access, visit www.patriotleague.org.

SCOUTING THE COLONIALS: George Washington enters the game with an overall record of 8-2 on the season. The Colonials have won four of their last five games, and are coming off an 84-80 overtime victory at East Carolina. Senior forward Damian Hollis leads the team with averages of 15.1 points and 5.0 rebounds per contest. Freshman guard Lasan Kromah is also off to a strong start this season, averaging 12.1 points per game while hitting 44.7 percent (21 of 47) of his three-point field goal attempts. George Washington is led by head coach Karl Hobbs, who owns an overall record of 141-102 over nine seasons. Prior to his time with the Colonials, Hobbs served as an assistant coach at Connecticut and Boston University.

DRIBBLES: Freshman guard Dee Goens (Alpharetta, Ga.) scored a career-high 10 points in the Sacred Heart game. He is now averaging 3.8 points per contest while making 14 of 15 free throw attempts this season ... Freshman forward Phil Beans (Toledo, Ohio) has totaled 24 points and 14 rebounds in 11 games off the bench this year ... The Crusaders set season-highs by hitting 57.9 percent of their field goal attempts in the victory over Marist on Nov. 30, and 88.9 percent of their free throws in the Dec. 9 game at Fairfield ... Holy Cross’ 0-6 start this season was its worst since the 1940-1941 season, when it began the year 0-7 ... The Crusaders stand 1-4 so far this season when wearing their white uniforms, while going 1-4 in their purple uniforms and 0-1 in their black uniforms ... Following the victory over Brown, Holy Cross now has a 13-3 record in overtime contests since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.